JEFF SCHIFF (click to hear the poet read this poem)


The poem about the Mexican

bird vendor

tweets without end


What else would it fucking do




cuckoos nightjars potoos

crammed as they are

dozens of fledglings to the fetid cage


finches thrushes vireos

a dozen or more

stacked cages


a towering wing

god’s own feathered jukebox

strapped to this man’s shirtless back


honeycreepers & warblers

& those seemingly tethered

to out-thrust sticks


that fly no further

than the first thought of castigation

hunger anonymity



around the central plaza

& into the courtyard


of the grand Cathedral


chestnut-bellied lineated


this poem wants to know

if you can spare two bucks

twenty pesos


if you are attentive

if you’ve ever held a bird in your palm

& fought the urge


nothing more mind you


to gently close your fingers


around a desperate flutter


Jeff Schiff is the author of Burro Heart, which may be ordered by emailing the publisher of Mammoth Books Press at